Horse DNA has been detected in a batch of canned beef supplied to Home Bargains and Quality Save stores in the UK, according to the Food Standards Agency.

The batch of 320g Food Hall Sliced Beef in Rich Gravy was found to contain horse DNA at a level of between 1% and 5% during routine testing carried out by Lincolnshire County Council trading standards officers.

The canned beef, which was manufactured in Romania in January, tested negative for the presence of veterinary drug phenylbutazone (bute).

“Horsemeat is not identified in the ingredients list and therefore it should not have been present in the product,” the FSA said in a statement issued this afternoon.

The affected batch has been withdrawn from sale but the FSA is advising consumers who have the product stored to return it to where they bought it.

The batch has a ‘best before’ date of January 2016 and a batch code of 13.04.C.

A spokesperson for TJ Morris, parent company of Home Bargains and Quality Save, said: “We are disappointed with these findings. The factory we and other retailers use for this product has the highest level of UK food standards accreditation (British Retail Consortium Grade A).

“As soon as we were made aware that the Food Standards Agency had found traces of horsemeat DNA in the Food Hall Sliced Beef in Gravy, it was removed from sale immediately.

“The FSA’s findings relate to just one batch of the product, which was produced in January 2013 – before horsemeat was found in a number of UK products. We have since had other batches of the same product tested, which were found to contain no traces of horsemeat.

“We work closely with our suppliers to ensure that our quality control is of the highest standard and extremely thorough. We are already liaising with this supplier to ensure that an even more robust process is in place moving forward.”

Lincolnshire County Council was not immediately available for comment.